March 8, 2007

In affirming the January 2007 panel decision to uphold a Texas state law making it illegal to sell, possess and transport horsemeat for sale for human consumption, the entire US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has rejected the two Texas-based slaughterhouses' petition to review its earlier decision.

"Given the careful analysis by the Court of Appeals in the written panel opinion, and the rarity of rehearings en banc, we are not surprised that this local Texas issue was not reheard by the federal Court of Appeals," said Tarrant County Deputy Chief Ann Diamond.

The Texas horse slaughter plants have no further options other than to take their argument to the US Supreme Court. They have 90 days from yesterday's ruling to file a petition for a writ of certiorari. "The foreign-owned corporations behind this horrible industry are not likely to prevail, and we expect that the two Texas plants will soon close - leaving only one facility operating in Illinois. Yet as long as the case is pending, the plants are able to remain open," said Chris Heyde, deputy legislative director for the Society for Animal Protective Legislation.

In court, the slaughterhouses have argued that a ban on the sale of horsemeat does not protect horses from theft and abuse, while regulating horse slaughter would achieve this goal. However, in January, the Fifth Circuit panel ruled that the Texas law "survives the constitutional challenges raised by the slaughterhouses" and flatly dismissed an earlier district court finding that the alternative measures to protect horses are adequate for their protection and preservation.

Only the passage of the AHSPA, recently reintroduced in both chambers of Congress as H.R. 503 and S. 311 respectively, will guarantee that no horses in this country are hauled across the country under terrible conditions to be killed for human consumption, or transferred abroad for the same purpose.

The Society for Animal Protective Legislation, the Animal Welfare Institute's legislative arm, is the unsurpassed leader in obtaining laws to benefit animals in need, including the protection of domestic and wild horses.

Horse slaughter in the news

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